One of the problems I have arguing with my more conservative friends on issues like the president’s behavior and the reality of climate change is that many of them are very reasonable, intelligent people. It’s hard for me to close the gap between our viewpoints based on facts alone. As I’ve had more conversations with them, I’ve been able to understand better where the discrepancy between their intelligence and our viewpoints lie.
The best thinkers among these more conservative people seem to be striving for balance these days. They want to condemn Nazis and the KKK, but they don’t want to condone what they see as extreme liberal groups. They want to talk about climate change, but they don’t want to be pushed into a viewpoint that demands radical and immediate action.
Balance is among the most human and important things we do. It’s hardwired into our biology and is among the most primal of our developmental birthrights as we learn to stand upright and walk in gravity. Biologically there are lessons about learning to balance that reflect on our intellectual and emotional choices as well.
Most of us are very good at balancing as very young children. Although the process may take a year or two, once we learn to walk, we do it effortlessly, and we can go from standing to lying down in smooth, elegant motions. As we age, however, our balance is often compromised.
Time takes its toll on us through fear, trauma and misguided instructions about how to use our bodies. We tuck in our tummies, stick out our chests and try not to look afraid. As we acquire more baggage, we may not be able to keep these artificial postures anymore, and balance becomes a struggle not to get tired, not to fall, not to get ourselves into places we can’t get out of without help.
What’s important is that through all of these changes, we are still seeking balance because it’s in our nature to do so. Yet often we have created an artificial idea of where the balance points are and we cling to them, rather than seek the real balance points. We avoid risks, we avoid the unfamiliar, and these are the very things that waken our nervous system up and help us find true balance and ease in mobility.
There is a corresponding shift in our thinking and feeling selves as well as we restrict the information we take in or the interactions we allow ourselves to have. We remain reasonable, intelligent people, but we don’t have enough information to find the true balance points. With all artificial balances, we expend a lot of energy to remain upright when only the tiniest bit of continual refocus should be necessary.
We cling to places that we think are the balance points, the way an amateur on a tightrope clutches the wire, desperate not to fall. We hold onto ideas that are actually pulling us over the brink, with only our strength of will keeping us on top. If we were to let go of those ideas, we very well might be risking a fall.
The answer to finding balance in a biological sense is to find a situation where we can slowly, safely and curiously explore, challenge ourselves at a level that is appropriate, and eventually feel safe when we emerge at a different place. There are many such opportunities for performers and writers, such as workshops, open mikes, and such, but not so many for the average person thinking about politics and world events. It’s my hope that by fostering the art of finding balance in the creative realms, I can give anyone an experience of learning how to gauge their distance from true balance in all parts of their lives.